Newswise — PHILADELPHIA— Penn Medicine and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) will host a virtual event on May 6 and 7 that will bring together cell and gene therapy leaders from the two institutions and around the world to discuss the latest achievements in the field, novel strategies, and future developments and applications for chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapy and more.

As home to the first U.S Food and Drug Administration-approved cell and gene therapies, Penn Medicine and CHOP are international leaders who have helped propel Philadelphia into “Cellicon Valley”— the name coined by Penn researchers to describe the region’s emergence as a hub for cell and gene therapy.

The first day of the “Cellicon Valley ’21” symposium will be comprised of eight concurrent sessions in the morning, with talks from experts in academia and industry covering CRISPR, the future of cellular therapies for pediatric patients, vaccines to boost CAR T cells, and costs of care, among other topics. Live, virtual Q&As will be held in the afternoon for each of the sessions. The second day will feature plenary talks on “tomorrow’s CARs,” treating patients with cellular therapies during the pandemic, and the expansion of CARs around the world, including Brazil, Costa Rica, and India.

The symposium will close with a talk on the future of cell and gene therapy by symposium co-chair Carl June, MD, the Richard W. Vague Professor in Immunotherapy in the department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine in Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine and director of the Center for Cellular Immunotherapies.

Other co-chairs and speakers include Stephan Grupp, MD, PhD, chief of the Cell Therapy and Transplant Section in the division of Oncology and director of the Cancer Immunotherapy Program at CHOP, David Porter, MD, the Jodi Fisher Horowitz Professor in Leukemia Care Excellence and director of Cell Therapy and Transplantation in Penn's Abramson Cancer Center, and Bruce Levine, PhD, Barbara and Edward Netter Professor in Cancer Gene Therapy in Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine.

University of Pennsylvania President Amy Gutmann, J. Larry Jameson, MD, PhD, Executive Vice President of the University of Pennsylvania for the Health System and Dean of the Perelman School of Medicine, and Kevin B Mahoney, CEO of the University of Pennsylvania Health System, will also give remarks.

Read the full agenda for May 6 and May 7, along with the list of speakers. For press, register here for the event. Speakers are available for interviews, and sessions will be available for later viewing. For more information or request for interviews, please contact Steve Graff from Penn Medicine Communications ([email protected]; 671-688-2485) and Ashley Moore, CHOP public relations manager ([email protected]; 267-426-6071).

Penn Medicine is one of the world’s leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation’s first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $8.9 billion enterprise.

The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top medical schools in the United States for more than 20 years, according to U.S. News & World Report's survey of research-oriented medical schools. The School is consistently among the nation's top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $496 million awarded in the 2020 fiscal year.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System’s patient care facilities include: the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center—which are recognized as one of the nation’s top “Honor Roll” hospitals by U.S. News & World Report—Chester County Hospital; Lancaster General Health; Penn Medicine Princeton Health; and Pennsylvania Hospital, the nation’s first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional facilities and enterprises include Good Shepherd Penn Partners, Penn Medicine at Home, Lancaster Behavioral Health Hospital, and Princeton House Behavioral Health, among others.

Penn Medicine is powered by a talented and dedicated workforce of more than 44,000 people. The organization also has alliances with top community health systems across both Southeastern Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey, creating more options for patients no matter where they live.

Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2020, Penn Medicine provided more than $563 million to benefit our community.